The last details concerning a new African Culture Fund to assist artists from the continent were finalised at a meeting held in Seychelles recently, a Seychellois artist said on Friday.
George Camille told SNA that the meeting finalised the details for the fund and set up a website where artists can find more information.
Camille said the idea for the fund was initiated by the steering committee of the Arterial Network — a pan-African civil society — comprised of artists, activists, organisations and institutions engaged in the African creative and cultural sectors.
The committee recognised the important challenge of inadequate funding for African artists to enable them to develop their full potential.
The initial contribution to the fund was made by artists themselves with money collected from the sale of their artworks.
“We invited artists across Africa to donate a piece of art and we organised two exhibitions, one in Ivory Coast last October and one in February this year in Mali. We sold the work and the money went into the fund. That’s how the fund started,” said Camille.
He added that there are donors, mostly private businesses, waiting for the official launch to make their contribution.
Part of the African Culture Fund will be a grant and this year only two artists will be able to get assistance. The number is expected to increase in future.
The Fund will be accessible through a website which is being developed is expected to up and running by September.
For the past three years, Seychelles – an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean — has been hosting a one-week cultural programme that has also contributed to the Fund. The recent exchange took place at Camille’s art studio at Le Rocher in the district of Les Mamelles, from June 6 to 11. The workshop allowed several artists from Africa to participate and share creative ideas and art skills for a cultural merger.
“The art workshop is where we draw and paint together and do presentations. We had a lot to learn as most of the people who participated here were artists and cultural entrepreneurs,” said Camille.
The president of the African Culture Fund, Mamou Daffe, a cultural entrepreneur and festival director from Mali, said that with the seed money from the fund young artists will have a good start.
“In Africa, there is a lack of support for young artists to help them acquire the necessary skills and competence, develop their art and access international market so they can earn a living from their art,” he added.
Daffe created the ‘Festival on the Niger’ in 2005 which promotes the attractions of the Segou region of Mali by promoting the local economy and recognising artistic works.
Source : Seychelles News Agency